Dancing Machine

I am so happy this week flew by. It means I can relax and sleep and recharge. I've been having trouble falling asleep lately. Want to know why? Because last weekend, I was dozing off and I dreamt I woke up and saw someone hovering over me on my side of the bed. I screamed, "There's someone in the room!!" Then I sort of jumped over to A.P.'s side of the bed while simultaneously swinging my arms trying to defend myself. A.P. woke up and calmed me down, but my heart was racing and I was so freaked out. Ever since, I've had a hard time falling asleep.

I know what this whole thing stemmed from, too. After we returned from Leland, we were hanging out in our apartment, resting with a couple of friends who had gone with after having lugged everything upstairs. We were laughing and talking and our neighbor knocked on the door. Before we could answer, she just walked in the apartment. It scared the crap out of me and made me so angry. Plus, I felt so, so violated. Who in the hell does that?? Ever since, I've been making sure our door was locked and I've become paranoid about our neighbors coming into our apartment. We have nice enough neighbors, but they're all a little crazy.

Needless to say, I am excited about catching up on sleep this weekend and relaxing to the max. Which is perhaps why I'm loving this week's wedding. It's beautifully shot by Andrew J R Squires Photography, is super sweet, and so low key. James and Charlie bucked tradition and got married in a small, warm registry wedding. It oozes love and charm, but not a lot of fuss, which is exactly how I'm feeling these days: unfussy.

Is that not the sweetest thing? And I love that there are details...just not an obscene amount.

Besides relaxing and maxing, we are going to celebrate our little dog Radar's b-day. He would have been 11 this Saturday and I decided that instead of being sad he's not here to nuzzle and cuddle and wish happy birthday, we would go out and celebrate the fact that we got to live our lives, even a small part of our lives, with this awesome dog. Plus, it gets us out of the house, which is key these days since everywhere we look, we expect him to be there. How will you be passing your days off? Whatever it is, I hope you have a wonderful weekend!

In the mean time, here are your dance moves for the week:

10 silly home objects I'd still like to have

Got a glove that lost its mate? Turn it into a cute little chipmunk.

The traditional 1st wedding anniversary gift is paper. Why not give your partner 52 things you love about them?

One of my favorite things to photograph is stenciled street art. I can't tell you how much I wish I had some of these in my own personal library.

Autumn always makes me want to make delicious things in my slow cooker, like this yummy French Onion Soup.

I think I would have a hard time eating at Tsujita in Los Angeles because I'd endlessly be staring at the amazing ceiling.

I wish I could pull off hats like this a bit more.

Maple pumpkin custard
? Yum!

Love this shelving unit idea!

(Friday dance photo via here; James and Charlie's Registry Wedding photographed by Andrew J R Squires Photography via Rock'n'Roll Bride)



When I was younger, I always imagined a home with an entire wall of books. My old apartment and my current home feature this and I'm not going to lie that it's one of my favorite things about my apartment. One day when I FINALLY get around to taking nice photos of my place and doing my home tour for you all, you'll see my wall of books. Now that we're trying to save for and eventually buy a home of our own, though, I envision more...I envision a whole room devoted to my books. An entire library. And in it, I imagine awesome posters framed on the wall of my favorite literary figures. Similar to a real library, but with less cats hanging from tree branches and more awesome art with a literary flair.

And so it was with that in mind that I happened onto the awesome Standard Designs. I fell in love with the London based etsy shop for its Recession Books, but then I saw the awesome author/artist portrait prints and could not help but bookmark two to purchase as soon as I find the space! The designs are not only well done, but also cheeky and hilarious. Check out a small sampling!

*Yes. Literart. It's a word I made up. You know you love it. Literary + art = Literart.

(Photos via Standard Designs etsy shop)


Wedding Wednesday: Other Side of the Aisle Submission

Hi lovelies! I'm so excited to FINALLY introduce you to one of our newest features around here on NTMK: real brides. The feature is called Other Side of the Aisle, because these real bride submissions are a bit different than other sites in that you have to have been married for a wee, little while. This won't be something you see every week, but rather once in a while. (It is also one of the different types of submissions I accept, if you're interested in being a NTMK real bride yourself, or submitting to any other features, check out the guidelines here.)

Helen is one of the lovely ladies who writes the blog Bettencourt Chase. She's an amazing photographer along with her wife, Lindi. And I'm so excited that she submitted her lovely real bride submission to Not the Marrying Kind. Their wedding was so filled with love and was so pretty (and totally budget friendly). They are both brave, amazing women to get married in a place that does not always welcome same sex marriages with open arms. And they didn't do it to be political or prove a point (although I'm pretty sure they did despite the fact that that was not their intention). They did it simply because they loved each other and because as Helen said, "I just knew that I wanted to know her for the rest of my life." Is that not the sweetest?? I hope you enjoy reading about this lovely, handmade wedding as much as I did!

1. First, please list and link (or provide link for) all vendors since it’s important that we give credit where credit is due (your credit is this post and the fame that will come from it). Remember, anybody you HIRED for ANYTHING gets listed
here. Future husbands/wives don’t count.

Photography: Stephen Ironside of Ironside Photography (http://www.ironsidephotography.com/) and Darby Ironside (flickr.com/dgieringer)

(Everything else, we did ourselves. Flowers: bought in bulk from Sam's Club. Food: made by Lindi, me, my sister and my mother. Decorations and favors: DIY. Music: iPod playlist and the building's sound system.)

2. Did you ever envision getting married? Did you know you would marry your partner right away?

I was never one of those little girls who cut out pictures of wedding dresses and pretended to be the bride during play time. Once I was older and dating, I thought vaguely about spending the rest of my life with those I had the most serious relationships with, but still never imagined my wedding or marriage in any concrete way. Then, I met Lindi. At first, when we were just friends and not romantically involved at all, I just knew that I wanted to know her for the rest of my life- and then, when we started dating, everything just sort of fell into place. Even before we formalized it by getting engaged and then married, we both knew we had a "for life" sort of thing. We bought our engagement rings about eight months into our relationship (and proposed- to each other!- a few months after that) and went from there.

3. What was your engagement like? Did you enjoy being engaged? Did you struggle with the idea of marriage? Or were you all, “I got this”?

We were engaged for 16 months. We moved in together four months after we got engaged and a year of wedding planning and craftiness commenced! Being engaged was a lot of fun, actually. We got to be all giggly and show off our pretty rings and tell people about it. Once I was with Lindi, I didn't struggle with the idea of marriage at all. That wasn't really true of our families, though. The majority of our close friends and family were supportive, but there were several that didn't agree with our choice (mostly for religious reasons, and one or two for age reasons, because they felt that at 21 and 25 we were too young to be getting married.)

4. How long did you take to plan your wedding?

16 months! It was actually a little long, if you ask me. I think 8-12 months would have been better. 16 months meant that things could kind drag out a long time. That might be great for some couples, but I really like GETTING THINGS DONE. That was hard to do that far ahead, sometimes. Honestly, I think we could have planned the whole shindig in about three months.

5. What was your budget (ballpark ranges are fine, too)?

If I had to sum up our budget in a nutshell, that nutshell would say: "As little as possible while still being pretty and awesome!" We were paying for it almost entirely ourselves, and we were poor college students about to go into our last year of university at the time. In the end, we spent about $2000 on the wedding. Here's how it broke down:

Wedding attire (for two brides: dresses- from the formals section of a department store, not a wedding boutique/store, a second dress for me when I couldn't make up my mind, funky shoes, special undergarments, materials for the veils I made): $400
Venue (we rented a community building near where we live): $100
Food (that is, supplies to make the desserts we baked and punch) and dishes: $300
Decorations including material to make tablecloths and new curtains for the building: $200
Save the Dates and Invitations (materials to make them): $100
Bridal gifts (jewelry for each other): $200
Bridesmaids' gifts (pearl earrings) and mother of the brides' gifts: $200
Rehearsal dinner (homemade) for approximately 20 people: $200
Flowers (bought in bulk), mason jars to put them in, ribbon and florist tape for the bouquets: $150
Other materials for centerpieces (wooden frames, photo printing): $50
Favors (photo magnets, Hershey's kisses, little cellophane bags and ribbon): $50
Photography: Free as a gift by our close friends who do wedding photography
Officiant: Free, a family friend
Music: An AWESOME iPod playlist and the sound system already in the building
We opted out of videography, a DJ/band, alcohol at the reception (it was in the middle of the day.)

If we had not had the option of having our two very talented and wonderful friends as our photographers, we would have cut back on other things or saved more to add to the budget to allow for a good photographer. We are both photographers ourselves, and that was one of the most important "details" for us.

6. What was the hardest thing about planning your wedding?

The hardest thing about planning our lesbian wedding in the VERY red part of the country that we live in (that is, Arkansas, with the wedding in Oklahoma). It was rough at times. We had friends and family that didn't understand our choice to be with one another, and several very important people made the decision to not be there with us on our wedding day. It was hard, and sad. However, we had so many amazing, wonderful people there that did support us.

7. What was the easiest thing about planning your wedding?

Choosing each other! Hah. Seriously, though, it might have been finding my dress (though not Lindi's.) I found my dress on accident, actually, when I wasn't even looking for one yet. We had only been engaged for about a month and I was shopping with my mother when I saw the prom section at the department store we were in was all marked down after prom. Never one to turn down a pretty dress, I tried a few on and ended up getting one. I said, why not? It's 95% off and is only $23. If I choose something else later, it wasn't like it was expensive. Anyway, I ended up looking at lots of other stores and dresses (and even buying a second, inexpensive, not-very-wedding-dressy dress) but wore the first one in the end.

8. What was your favorite detail in your wedding? If it was a DIY already on the internerd, do link some instructions, please.

I really loved our guest book cards- they were cream card stock, about 3"x2", with prompts on them like "Love is..." or "We wish for you..." for the guests to write on. I think we actually might have gotten them from the Martha Stewart website, of all places, though I couldn't find the template there when I went back to look. They were a big hit. We went home after the reception and read them all, and it was amazing. I also love that we (along with my sister and mother) made all of the food- over 1000 cookies, brownies, tarts and cupcakes. Lindi and I loooove to bake, so I thought that was really a personal, "us" part of the wedding.

9. How much did your now partner help you with the wedding planning? Did wedding planning affect your relationship either during the planning process or after you got married?

We did it all together. It was one benefit of marrying a girl- at least there were no societal expectations that one of us would hate the wedding planning process and be bored about it all. It was stressful at times (like when the glue ran on half of the magnets we were making as favors, or when our oven broke during the week before the wedding when we were in super baking mode, or when people didn't agree with where we were having the wedding or the fact that we were having a wedding in the first place) but we got through it. There was one very stressful day when everything seemed to be going wrong all at once when we almost just decided to elope, but in the end, I'm glad we didn't. The wedding was worth it.

10. What was the best advice you got as a bride-to-be/bride/married person? (If you got good advice for all three situations, either pick a favorite or briefly explain each. You be the judge. It’s okay. I trust you.)

I think when I discovered A Practical Wedding as a bride-to-be, that was pretty much a gigantic truckload of good advice in the form of archives. I had kind of muddled through all that WIC wedding porn for the first bit of our engagement, and when I found APW, I realized that all that didn't really matter as much as everyone was telling me it did. There are a lot of wise, funny, sane women (and a few men) on that site, in the form of both bloggers (Meg, Alyssa and Lauren) and commenters. I recommend it to everyone I know that gets engaged. As a married person, I really liked this: No matter how mad you are at your partner, always remember that you love them more.

11. How has marriage changed you? For better? For worse?

Even before we were married- actually, even before we were engaged- we both knew that this was it for us. We were all in. Getting married didn't change our relationship in many of the big noticeable ways it does for some people- we were already living together, we were already committed to one another and monogamous, we already knew we wanted to be with one another for life. I think the change was a lot more subtle, personally: a sort of settling in, if you will. More so than that, though, I think that getting married is more of an outward change for us. We announced what we are to our community, and that makes a difference. So perhaps for us it was more of a cultural/societal recognition thing than a personal change thing, if that makes sense.

12. Spill the beans, has marriage changed things in the bedroom? (If you’re shy, be creative with this response. And funny. We likez funzies.)

It actually hasn't changed things all too much for us, really. We were together for several years before we got married and living together for a year and a half of that. I will say, though, that when we are having a "slow" week for the bedroom side of things, one of us may or may not say something along the lines of, "Well, I guess we really ARE old married people now, and we don't even have to TRY or anything..." in a semi-snarky manner. Most of the time, though, our sex life is pretty similar to what is was pre-wedding-day. I will say, though, that I would hazard a guess that any relationship takes more work over time to make things exciting and new even if you see each other every day and sleep with each other every night. That's not really a marriage thing, per se, but more a time thing.

(Also, the night of our wedding, we didn't do ANYTHING. We came home, opened some presents and read our guest book cards, and then fell into bed exhausted. Hah. It's built up to be such a big deal, but we were just SO TIRED!)

13. What’s your favorite thing about being married? Least favorite?

I think my favorite thing is that we've declared ourselves publicly bonded to one another, and it gives our relationship more gravity (in the eyes of others.) Also, even if we argue about something, we know that we are both in this for the long haul. Neither one of us is going anywhere. My least favorite is that our marriage isn't legal- we aren't lucky to live in one of the few states where it would be!

14. Any last words of wisdom?

I decided to give the wisdom out in the style of question #10, hah.

Bride-to-be (or groom-to-be!): Pick the things that are important to you (and your partner) and stick to your guns, but compromise elsewhere. Also, make decisions together! Also, I would advise any nearly newlyweds (or actually everybody, even if you're already married) to try out couples counseling. I think it's a really valuable tool, even if you think you may not need it, and can really strengthen your relationship. I regret not doing it before we got married. We were going to, but the therapist we were scheduled to see canceled our first appointment, and then we had a family emergency and canceled the second, and it never worked out for us to get in there and actually talk to her.

Bride (and groom): Bask in the amazing glow of your wedding day, and remember that this is not the most important day of your life- it is just ONE amazing, important day, and if things go wrong, it will really be okay. You are beginning something important and amazing.

Married person: learn how to fight WELL with your partner, because you're going to fight. Do nice things unexpectedly (like bringing home cake, or cleaning the kitchen, or leaving a love note on the mirror in the bathroom). Also, don't forget to do fun stuff together and be spontaneous even when it's really easy to just fall into a routine.

(Photography by Stephen Ironside of Ironside Photography and Darby Ironside)

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If you follow me on twitter (and you should...srsly), you might have noticed my tweet last night saying I was simultaneously watching the crazy broads on the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills and pickling peppers. Canning is something I've always wanted to do, but until recently, I found that the materials were rather a pain in the rear to procure. Until now. A month or so ago, I noticed that Target has a new line of Ball jar canning/preserving supplies, including pectin, pickling salt, jars, utensils, and an awesome kit, which includes a gigantic pot with a rack.

Because of garden overflow, I've been at a loss with what to do with all my peppers and tomatoes. I'm not going to lie that I was forced to throw some veggies out because I couldn't keep up with my harvest. Not anymore, suckafaces! I purchased the canning kit from Target on Sunday and got to work pickling my peppers! I used this recipe for pickled pepperoncini peppers, since that's what I had an overflow of at the time.

I started by washing and trimming the peppers, then cutting a slit in each pepper. I then soaked the peppers in salt water overnight. Tonight, I made the pickle solution, sterilized the jars, canned the peppers and then jarred those suckers. And it was easy as pie.

The cured peppers after soaking in salt water overnight

The pickling liquid

Sterilizing the jars

Packing the peppers

The pickled peppers cooling on a towel. They will have to cool overnight and I suspect that as the peppers absorb the pickling liquid more, they'll drop a bit. They were packed to the bottom but floated to the top during processing.

I've tried my hand at canning before, but didn't feel like I really had the right utensils/materials. Now I do and I'm excited to can the remaining crop from the garden which I am pulling this week. I was supposed to do it last week, but honestly, it was hard for me to go into the garden last week having spent my whole summer there with my dog. I'm pulling the rest of our tomatoes, zucchini, spaghetti squash, a few errant carrots, and whatever other veggies are remaining. I'm also going to cut the remaining flowers and have some pretties in my apartment. Then, I'm letting the sweet potato plants dry up so that I can pull them. My team and I will ready the hoop house for a fall lettuce and spinach crop that we will plant next week. And then everything else will be pulled in a few weeks when the plants die off and are dried out a bit more. I'm sad to see my garden go, but am excited about the expansion that I'm trying to make happen for next summer and what I'm going to grow next year. And now with my canning skills, I'm even more confident about what to do with my large harvests.

(Photos by me!)


Marriage Mondays: Loss

First of all, thank you so, so much for the overwhelming outpouring of kindness and condolences. I cannot tell you what it meant to A.P. and I that even people we've never met were wishing us well and could understand what we were experiencing. It was so very heartwarming at a time when we were completely heartbroken. I'd also like to thank you for being understanding about my need to take a blogging break. It was much needed as we got over the shock of losing our sweet, sweet, little dog. That being said, I'd like to talk today about an issue that affects all marriages at one time or another: loss.

When A.P. and I got married, I gave a toast to our guests during the reception. I explained to people that we had endured so much during our short engagement: family members in the hospital, job loss, and worst of all, the death of A.P.'s mother. I explained to our family and close friends that some might see these things as signs that things were not meant to be, but we chose to see them as proof that not only could we endure such terrible things, but that we could endure them together. I never lied; I never said that it was easy, or that we didn't cry, fight, yell, and scream. I didn't say we had endured these tragedies well, but rather that we had simply endured.

Losing our dog last week, who we have had as a pet for four and a half of our five years together, is yet another loss we have dealt with together. Just like any great death or tragedy, losing Radar was not easy. Our home feels impossibly empty despite two other pets filling it. We are constantly trying to find him, looking for him in our bed, on our couch, and worst of all, waiting by the door every time we come home. It's a terrible feeling and a grief I've never felt before. I've lost pets and family members before, but never a pet like a dog. He was such a part of every facet of our life in ways that parents, grandparents, and other family members just aren't. And anyone who has experienced the loss of a family pet knows that losing pets is different than losing humans. You take in an animal knowing that you will inevitably outlive it. And unlike humans, animals never question your love or affection. They hang on your every move and love you unconditionally, in the truest sense of the word.

This loss, though, we dealt with differently. This loss was met by strength on our parts. Because we've coped with death before, we know what we need in times like this. We know to check in with each other and ask if we are okay. We also know that we need time together and lots of it, which is exactly what we've been doing. If a marriage is two lives being stitched together, then the incredible tragedies and difficulties that we've had to experience throughout our relationship are the things tightly bind us to each other, making, as much as possible, the fabric our lives together unbreakable.

I said to A.P. the other day that I feel bad for my friends or people in general, who have never had to deal with a single, bad thing in their relationship. It's misleading. Life is filled with sad events that are out of our control and hit us like a ton of bricks. Having been through those things early on and before marriage was key in preparing us for how to help each other through these things now. We know how to talk to one another and carry each other when the other is too weak to walk (that's a metaphor, people, we're not handicapped...yet). That's not to say that those people won't survive at all. I just think it's harder when you've had no problems for so long to know how to deal with the big stuff. I certainly don't wish we had to experience these awful things, nor do I wish that they happen all the time, but having been through these things before has brought us closer and made us learn more about each other in ways we couldn't have foreseen three years ago. They have made us love each other more and in a deeper way that I can't fully describe.

A.P. was devastated by Radar's death, but he told me two things several times, 1. that he was glad it wasn't me, and 2. that he was glad he was married to me to help him through it. These are things I am grateful for as well. And I know that with time, these wounds won't heal completely, but they will hurt less. I'm so happy to help A.P. hurt less each and every day and I'm so happy he does the same for me.

Have you dealt with loss or tragedy in your relationship? How has it brought you closer?



Hi guys,

I will be taking a blogging break, at least through the end of the week. Today, I came home to find our dog passed out on the ground, surrounded by a pool of his own blood/vomit. He suffered cardiac arrest as a result of his heart murmur. This somehow pushed fluid in his lungs, which basically caused him to drown in his own fluid/blood. I rushed him to the emergency vet (and almost got into an accident with a cop car on the way) and they were able to resuscitate him, but he suffered another cardiac arrest and his little heart stopped. It was by far one of the worst experiences of my life. I had his blood all over me and had to carry his limp body into the vet as I was sobbing and thinking he was dead already.

A.P. and I are beside ourselves with grief and are wondering how in the world we are going to get through this. We both loved that dog more than life itself. I had a lot of great things in store, but they will have to wait. Please think of my little dog and keep us in your thoughts.



Fiesta! Ole!

I am still wiped from our party on Saturday, but we're getting everything put away and back to normal. I have to tell you (as I told A.P., too) that I really should have been a party planner. Or at least a Betty Draper type who rides horses by day and plans awesome parties by night.

I used to throw parties all the time, usually 2-3 a year. However, grad school and a new career made it harder and harder to find the time (and energy) to do so. The last party we threw was in 2008, when I first moved in with A.P. It was our brunch party which was affectionately titled "Let's Get Drunk and Eat Waffles" (mostly because I purchased these awesome invitations on etsy.) It was totally awesome, but also over three years ago! Honestly, I'd forgotten how much damn work throwing a party is because of course I go over the top.

For this party, the theme was End of Summer Fiesta. We wrote this in our evite, "Let's mourn the loss of summer by forgetting it's the end and pretending it's the beginning! Join us for an end of summer fiesta! It's been a long time since we threw a party, so expect a comeback to be remembered! As always, expect great food, delicious drinks, and good company! Plus, there may or may not be a pinata! See you there!" See? Overdoing it. I made enough food for 40 people (and have a TON of leftovers), handmade all the decorations, made goodie bags, and acted as hostess/photographer. (This role never works out, so inevitably I take some, but not many photos.)

Here was our menu for the evening:

Stuffed Jalapeno Peppers
Grilled skirt steak
Grilled Tequila Lime Shrimp
Red Rice
Pinto Beans w/Bacon & Scallions
Tres Leches Cake w/Whipped Cream and Strawberries
Watermelon Margaritas

That's right. I made all of that from scratch...and for 40 people (we had 35 show total). In addition, my friend's girlfriend made this awesome Chipotle Mac and Cheese, which was killer. In typical Marty fashion, I was still cooking/getting things ready when people started to show. One day, I will have everything ready when people get here. It's been my lifelong goal. At least this time, I was dressed.

I also made a ton of decorations, including papel picado and some tissue paper pom poms from a Martha Stewart kit I got on clearance from Michael's. I also had goodie bags filled with Mexican candy and an awesome Pinata, which seven of us beat the crap out of at 3 in the morning in my back courtyard. Yes. It was that kind of party. And I'd love to share some photos of the gathering with you. Enjoy my craziness!

Homemade Papel Picado(Somebody discovered our wedding photobooth props!)
My brother, Rev/Rach, and B-Mac
Homemade pom poms (I actually had these hanging in the hall when people came in)PINATA!!Not gonna lie, A.P. almost killed someone when he swung at the pinata. Plus, he knocked over that plant in the background. Oops.
I know it seems like only Rev/Rach, B-Mac, A.P. and my brother were there, but I swear to God we had a total of 35 people throughout the night squeezed into our little apartment. All in all, it was a success...and good practice! The Half-breed Swede is coming for a visit in December and we're having another party for NYE. I already know the theme, too! It's going to be awesome!

(Photos by me!)
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